NaNoWriMo 2018 Underway!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to participate in the 2018 edition of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a fun, goal-oriented, community approach to creative writing. Writers often gather together in coffee shops, meeting halls, and other spots to work on their individual works in progress. The goal is to write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30. While people aren’t collaborating on each other’s work, they are supportive and encouraging of fellow participants. To write 50,000 words in 30 days means averaging nearly 1700 words per day. No small challenge, but doable. While a 50,000-word novel doesn’t sound like a big book, it’s worth noting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby” is about 50,000 words. Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”, and Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” are under 50,000 words. A novel 50,000 words in length translates to an average of about 175 pages. Given the many things vying for our attention and our shorter attention spans, shorter novels may prove to be just the cure to Make America Read Again.

Novels About 50,000 Words in Length, More or Less

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (46,333 words)
  • The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (52,000 words)
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (50,776 words)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (50,061 words)
  • The Apostle Paul’s Epistles from the Bible (43,293 words. 50,190 if you count Hebrews.)
  • Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  • Shattered by Dean Koontz
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
  • Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter “E” by Ernest Vincent Wright
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (56,695 words)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (43,617 words)
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (46,591 words)
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles (56,787 words)
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (46,118 words)

NaNoWriMo_slide

I am happy to report that my first few days in this year’s “competition” have been fruitful and successful. I’m producing at a clip slightly higher than the necessary 1,667 words per day average, which is extremely encouraging. While I initially tried to plan out my novel, I’ve succumbed to writing it as I go. This actually seems more creative to me—like painting a picture from scratch, simply sitting down in front of the canvas and seeing where the brushes and colors take you. Sure, I have a basic plot in mind and at least a partial idea of how it all ends. In the days ahead, I look forward to seeing how my “word art” turns out.

I’m thankful for my bride, Sweet T, who has been so extremely supportive of this venture. I’m also grateful for a couple of my friends who I have dared to share my goal with over a cup of coffee or a good meal.

Happy Writing!

The Devotional Guy™

#NaNoWriMo #WGT 

 

 

Finding Hope In A World of I Don’t Care

For the next several days, I’m going to re-post some of the most popular Devotional Guy posts from 2017. To get things started, I thought I’d begin with this one inspired by a homeless woman and a poem she wrote.

The Devotional Guy™

The other day while Sweet T and I were sharing the love of Jesus down at the Center of Hope women’s shelter, we both had the opportunity to visit with a homeless family that we’d met there on a previous trip Downtown.

Pamela, the 71 year old family matriarch, her adult daughter Heather, and Pamela’s grandson Nathanael have been homeless several months now since they lost their apartment. After a number of life events happened causing them to get behind on the rent, they found themselves drowning from the sheer financial weight of trying to keep a roof over their head.

You’d never know from his big grin or joyful laugh that Nathanael suffers from cerebral palsy and spends most of his time confined to a wheelchair. Nathanael is filled with tremendous joy; a gift he undoubtedly gets from his mother and grandmother.

Yes, their faces reflect the troubles they…

View original post 411 more words

Set SMART Writing Goals for 2018

Writers write. If you’ve ever stared the blank page glowing off your laptop screen, I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Stacks of notebooks and legal pads testify to your commitment. Yes, Stephen King, writers write.

notes-514998_1920

Writers plan and organize too. You set objectives. You aim for goals.

As 2017 draws to a close, what are your writing goals for next year? What strategies and tactics will you employ to reach your goals? Did you set SMART goals or are your objectives willy-nilly, feel gooders?

SMART Goals are:

S. – Specific

M. – Measurable

A. – Assignable

R. – Realistic

T. – Time based

writing-828911_1920

Studies and experience show the more specific goals are the greater the odds of attaining them. Measuring progress and achievement is critical. Otherwise you don’t really know how you are coming along and when you need to celebrate. Assignable is a nice way of saying accountable. Writing is a lonely affair. If the story doesn’t get written, it’s on you. Realistic is a big, daunting word. If you’ve never ever written, don’t start out trying to write “War and Peace” or “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Keep it simple. Make your goals attainable and reachable. Start by writing 100-200 words a day, six days a week. Take a day off. It’ll be okay. Build the volume of words you write until you are producing consistently. Find a level you can maintain. If you’ve never moved any iron, you wouldn’t go to your nearest gym and try to bench press 400 pounds of weight.  That would be ridiculous. And painful. Finally, make your goals time-based. Yes. That means set a deadline. As with previous steps, be specific, make it measurable, be accountable, and be realistic. I know that a ton of “experts” tell you how you can write your Great American Novel in 30 days. Odds are against it. Start with something like this: I will complete the first draft of my first chapter of 2,500 words for my 80,000 word novel on January 31, 2018.

Anyways…writers write. So why are you just sitting there?

Get to it.

I believe in you.

write-593333_1920

Photos courtesy of the fine artists at Pixabay.com